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Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal 12.1 (2007) 76-79

Miriam Cast Out
Miriam Axel-Lute

I have no timbrels now
No one is dancing
I am weary from caring for your people
while you distracted God
with your need for rules

You got them
dry and temporary as my peeling skin

I once saw you drawn
safely from the water
I confess
right now I wish I could
return you there [End Page 76]

My feet move light and fast
across this hot sand
defying anything set in stone

There are things you do not know
O leader of my people

Last time you left us
(before dry flat bread had nourished
our escape through the sea)
The neighbor's girl was raped by a soldier
Her only crime was surviving

A dust storm of shame
rose up from your people
and burned itself into the bruises
on her forearms

I watched her walk tall and tearless,
peering through my bending hope
like I peered through the reeds
at you

When the dust blew too harshly
she came to visit me
I braided her hair
told her she was beautiful
I took her to the river to wash
I spoke to her of a God like rain
that would cool her skin
and return the dust to the earth
like forgiveness [End Page 78]

Once I let go a torrent of curses
for all those who had harmed her
until saw her eyes gulping for air
I wished then
for some of your dry strength
to balance my tidal waters
But you were gone

will you listen to me
though my voice is softer than God's?

as I pace out the days of your judgment
You stand over that same girl
angry at her for seeking
comfort in a God she could see

You curse her for old stains
that you can't wash out
of your drying eyes

She struggles not to believe you

Your arm is raised

Every feverish step
my foot sinks in prayer for rain
If there is none in the heavens
I will give the last drop from my well

Rain to remind
you each of the river
Rain to renew what the burning
bush made tinder [End Page 78]



The rain is coming

Miriam Axel-Lute Miriam Axel-Lute ( is a performance-oriented poet from Albany, NY. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Touched by Eros and Hunger Enough, and has been performed from many stages, classrooms and pulpits. She has always had an affinity for her Biblical namesake, though for a while as a kid, having misheard a classmate's taunting, she thought Miriam had been turned into a leopard.



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pp. 76-79
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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